Quaint Toscana

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

IT has been there for a long time, since after Italian guy Salvatorre got in trouble with the law several years back and thus the old Italian restaurant along Quirino Avenue became La Toscana after being known as Salvatorre.

It has been some time now, however, since I last stepped into its doors. Its location being in an area where you always pass by but rarely stop. But stop we, did, that day a few weeks back, simply because we had an hour or two to dawdle and Amy C. has a P500 gift certificate. But, since there was just the two of us, we decided to just share. A past and a pizza was our initial decision, the specifics were more difficult to decide on.

Going up and down the menu, we finally agreed to have the pizza that had the word “volcano” in it (sorry, memory gap, but it’s the only pizza with that word) and spaghetti pesto.

La Toscana has a lot of things inside that could pique your curiosity, like bottles of wine in wine racks, dried stuff in small transparent plastic bags that you’d think were potpourri but turned out to be mixed herb for specific pasta concoctions (and it’s for sale at P150 per pack): puttanesca, arrabbiata, and penne alla diabola, and uncooked pasta shells in shapes that are not familiar.

While waiting, we were served a plate of small slices of bread with pesto toppings, and tiny pieces of deep-fried battered leaves that sent my culinary brain whirring. Hmmm… Their batter is good; crisp, not soggy.

Our pesto arrived first. It was… different. It wasn’t your typical pesto with the strong taste of basil, pine nuts, and garlic. In fact, at first it tasted rather bland… except that… the taste somehow grows in you, and before you know it, you are already wiping clean the last bit of sauce with your bread and your spoon. Try it, it’s good, promise. You can also order the sauce, but they will only make it for you if you place an order. Meaning, you have to come back for it. I was sorely tempted but didn’t, knowing that it may take some time again for me to drop by.

The pizza is a perfect as it had always been, and came in handy to wipe the remnants of the sauce of the pesto dish. With a thin but chewy crust, it was how pizzas should be.

We lingered on and explored further. La Toscana is indeed worth a visit as it not only feeds your tummy, it also fills up all your other senses, the busy traffic outside muffled as you relax in an atmosphere that brings you to some small cottage out there where traffic congestion and smoke-belching are unheard of. The wine bottles were enticing (seemingly smiling their best and waving at me), but it was still lunchtime I had to give them the cold shoulder.

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